2012 NFL Season: 5 Toughest Schedules

By Daniel Hutchinson
April 18, 2012 11:06 pm
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This week the NFL released the schedule for the 2012 season, with some teams having more difficult schedules than others. This article examines which squads have the most difficult 2012 schedules. My ratings were determined by a system I used based on number of opponents that made the playoffs in 2011, number of road games against 2011 playoff teams, night games, and consecutive games against 2011 playoff teams and/or division opponents.

Tied for the fifth most difficult schedule in 2012, are the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Dallas Cowboys

In 2012, the Dallas Cowboys will play in seven games against teams that made the playoffs in 2011, which include two games against the New York Giants, and games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals, the New Orleans Saints, and the Atlanta Falcons. Adding to Dallas’ difficulties is that they will play four of those games on the road, and play three of those games in weeks 14-16.

Additionally, Dallas will play four night games, which include a week one matchup with the New York Giants, a week four matchup against the Chicago Bears, a week nine matchup against the Atlanta Falcons and a week 13 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Pittsburgh Steelers

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Steelers will play in six games against teams that made the playoffs in 2011, which include two games, against the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, and games against, the Denver Broncos, and the New York Giants. Additionally, Pittsburgh will play four of those games on the road.

Two other factors making Pittsburgh’s schedule difficult is the fact that they will play five night games, and will play three division opponents in as many weeks, between weeks 11 and 13. Pittsburgh night games include a week one matchup with the Denver Broncos, a week six matchup with the Tennessee Titans, a week seven matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, a week 10 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, and a week 11 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

Tied for the third most difficult schedule in 2012 are both in the AFC West division, and are the Denver Broncos, and the San Diego Chargers.

Denver Broncos

In 2012, Denver will be attempting to defend their AFC West title while dealing with one of the more difficult schedules in the league. In 2012, Denver will play in seven games against opponents that made the playoffs in 2011, with the team playing four of those games on the road. Denver’s first three opponents will be three of the teams that made the playoffs in 2011, which are the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Houston Texans. Denver will also play against, 2011 playoff teams, the New England Patriots, the New Orleans Saints, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens.

Additionally, Denver will play in five night games, which are a week one matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, a week two matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, a week six matchup with the San Diego Chargers, a week eight matchup with the New Orleans Saints, and a week 14 matchup with the Oakland Raiders.  

 

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2 years ago
Interesting that the teams with the 2 best records in the NFL (Packers and Patriots) have the two easiest schedules in the league. Why do you feel like having night games makes the schedule harder? The team they are playing also has a night games so if there is a disadvantage don't BOTH teams have to deal with it? Just curious on your logic with that point.

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